The only numerical goal we’ve ever set is to connect 100,000 people into small groups. And we’ve spent 18 years chipping away at that number. We’ve refined systems. And crafted curriculum. And experimented with formats. But a challenge has remained.
Connecting men into groups is really, really tough.
We even joke about this in our promo videos for community groups—Maybe your wife bribed you to come…Maybe you thought this was a fantasy football draft…
But we’re lucky enough to have John Woodall on staff, a man who is singularly focused on connecting disconnected men. So in 2011, John started an environment we call (7). His plan was to spend seven weeks facilitating discussion for a room full of guys around seven questions he believed “rattled in the minds of most men.”
Two-hundred men joined John for the first round of (7). And when their seven weeks together were finished, a funny thing happened. The room of disconnected men (i.e., men not already in a community group) didn’t want to part ways. These tables of guys who had previously passed on chances to join a group had now spent seven weeks getting a taste for community. And they liked it. Enough to continue meeting in coffee shops and homes across the city.
The story from there is exactly what you’d expect when God’s involved. Registration for (7) tripled in 2012. Then almost doubled from there in 2013. And more importantly, (7) has continued to be a launching pad for men’s community groups. It turns out, once guys connect to this study and each other, they’re willing to give community a shot.
When something around here works, our Resources ministry is in charge of getting it out the door so other churches and ministries can use it too. So we’re excited to be able to share John’s content in the (7) Questions DVD and (7) Questions Study Guide.
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